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Taste of Spring

Our Annual Gala: Thursday, May 4th

Taste of Spring is our annual gala fundraiser. This is our 14th year, and we're moving the event to the beautiful and historic California Ballroom in Downtown Oakland. A stone's throw from City Hall, this art deco gem was built in the 1920s and recently renovated. It served as the ballroom for the adjacent Leamington Hotel (where Amelia Earhart had her offices!) The event is on Thursday, May 4th at 5:30 pm. Like the past five years, this event will sell out!

We will be featuring exciting silent and live auction items, live local entertainment, gourmet food by Red Door, and hosted beer and wine. Proceeds go toward furthering our mission of helping Oakland kids, and making our parks better.


We will be featuring youth dancers from the East Oakland Sports Complex, as well as Oakland-based artist and acrobat Nikki Borodi, seen below, who combines music and athleticism to provide an ethereal experience.

Recipients of the Anne Woodell Community Award

Rue Mapp, Outdoor Afro

Rue is the Founder of Outdoor Afro, and oversees a carefully selected and trained national volunteer leadership team of 62 men and women who represent 28 states around the US. Originally beginning in 2009 as a blog, Rue has since captured the attention and imagination of millions through a multi-media approach, grounded in personal connections and community organizing. From its grassroots beginning, now Outdoor Afro enjoys national sponsorship and is recognized by major organizations for the importance of diversity in the outdoors.

In 2010, Mapp was invited to the White House to participate in the America’s Great Outdoors Conference, and subsequently to take part in a think tank to inform the launch of First Lady Michelle Obama's “Let’s Move” initiative. She was appointed program officer for the Stewardship Council’s Foundation for Youth Investment to oversee its grant-making program from 2010-2012. Click here for more infomation on Rue Mapp.

Stan Dodson, Oakland Trails

Stan founded Oakland Trails as a committee of the Dimond Improvement Association 2010. With a group of volunteers, Stan led several trail maintenance projects to rehabilitate Dimond Canyon’s trail system, and in 2011, began a series of hiking tours to promote it. He then joined Friends of Joaquin Miller Park as an at-large board member. Leading projects for both organizations, Stan concentrated his efforts on promoting and maintaining more than 600 acres of parkland that connect Dimond Park to the Bay Area Ridge Trail (1500+ feet elevation). Stan is also the founder of the Oakland Volunteer Park Patrol. The Patrol clears trails and assists visitors to Joaquin Miller, Diamond Canyon, and Leona Canyon Parks, and just recently logged its 2,000 hour of volunteer work! He also produced the documentary Trailhead, about the Dimond Canyon project. Click here for more information on Stan Dodson.

Barry Weiss, Past President of the Foundation

Former President of the Board Barry Weiss, unexpectedly passed away on July 2, 2016. Barry shepherded the merger of the former Friends organization with the Oakland Parks Coalition, to make this stronger Foundation. He also served Oakland's parks and recreation department for many years. Barry was a tireless advocate for Oakland's parks and children. His kindness, warmth and intelligent spirit will be sorely missed by everyone at the Foundation, OPR, and these communities he selflessly served for decades. At the request of Barry's family, we have established the Barry Weiss Memorial Scholarship Fund. The fund will help children from all across Oakland, so they can enroll in the many programs and camps offered at the City's recreation centers.

Event Sponsors

Sponsorship opportunities are still available! Contact us for more information.

Presenting Sponsor

Pacific Gas and Electric Co.


Patron Sponsors

Donahue Fitzgerald LLP

Kaiser Foundation Health Plan, Inc.


Supporting Sponsors

Corrigan Sports

Big Wave Media

McGuire & Hester


Friend Sponsors


Bridge Bank

F/T Family Trust

Kazan Law

McConnell Group

Schnitzer Steel

In-Kind Auction and Event Donations 

Event Donations:

Quality beer from Drake's Brewing Company. Appetizers by the Terrace Room. Fine wine donated by a local, anonymous company.


Auction donations (as of 3/17/17): 

Food and Drink

Albatross Pub, Aunt Mary's Cafe, Berkeley Bowl, Cafe Sarafornia, Canvas & Cabernet, C'era Una Volta, Cheese Steak Shop, Corso Trattoria, Farley's Coffee, Farm Burger, Grand Lake Kitchen, Habit Burger Grill, Harris Restaurant, Kakui Sushi, La Farine Bakery, La Mediteranee Restaurant, Lalime's Restaurant, Lin Jia Asian Kitchen, Mariposa Baking Company, Melting Pot, Millennium, Monterey Market, Mua Restaurant and Bar, Oaktown Spice Shop, Picante Cocina Mexicana, Rick and Ann's Restaurant, Rivoli Restaurant, Rosenblum Cellars, Semifreddi's Bakery, Smitten Ice Cream, St. George Spirits, Sonoma Valley Portworks, VJB Vineyards & Cellars, Yoshi's Restaurant.

Education and the Arts

Alameda Ballet Academy, Berkeley Ironworks, Berkeley Playhouse, Berkeley Symphony Orchestra, Books Inc., California Shakespeare Theater, Commonwealth Club of California, The Crucible, The Daily Show with Trevor Noah, The Exploratorium, Freight and Salvage Coffeehouse, Lawrence Hall of Science, Michael Merril Design Studio, Mrs. Dalloway's Bookstore, Oakland Symphony, Producer's Associates Inc., Reading Connection, RIDE Oakland, San Francisco Symphony, Smuin Ballet.

Sports and Fitness

Albany Bowl, Bear Valley Cross Country, Bladium Sports and Fitness Club, Boundary Oak Golf Course, California Canoe and Kayak, Lake Chabot Golf Course, Lake Merritt Boating Center, Metropolitan Golf Links, Oakland Hills Tennis Club, Oakland Ice Center, Piedmont Spa, Scandia Family Center, Sonoma Raceway.

Travel and Leisure

Alcatraz Cruises, Little River Inn, Red & White Fleet, Children's Fairyland.

Home, Garden, Jewelry

East Bay Nursery, Esqueleto, Grand Lake Ace Hardware and Garden, Heller Jewelers, Knible Oakland, Pave Fine Jewelry Design, Phillipa Roberts, Ruby's Garden.